7 Top Graphic Novels For Teens

Getting your teens to read graphic novels for their pastime can be tricky. Some of them immediately take to books, while others would rather watch movies and videos for entertainment.

A young lady is sitting on the red sofa in the living room while reading her favorite book.
Source: pixabay.com

We’ve great news: many of the best graphic novels are geared toward young adults.

What Are Graphic Novels For Teens?

These books, particularly the YA graphic books, can appeal more to young readers starting middle school due to their visual nature. At the same time, it’s an excellent way to encourage them to read. Authors such as Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll are only a few of the well-known great writers of books about family and the truth about life. Robin Ha, Art Spiegelman, Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks, and Laura Dean are also three people who are significant to the genre. There are fantasy comic books, romance comic books, and even a graphic memoir and graphic biography or two.

What Are Some Of The Great Benefits Of Reading These Graphic Novels To Adolescents?

Graphic books benefit adolescents in several ways. They improve literacy skills through visual storytelling, offer diverse perspectives on various topics, make complex narratives more accessible, stimulate creativity, and foster a love of reading.

Is It Challenging To Find The Perfect Graphic Novels For Adolescents To Enjoy And Appreciate?

Finding the perfect comic novel for your adolescent child can be challenging due to the wide variety of options available, each with its unique style, themes, and target audience. It often requires careful consideration of the teen’s interests, reading level, and preferences to find a comic novel that will resonate with them. However, with some research and exploration, it is possible to discover comic books that will captivate and engage teen readers. To get you started, here’s a list of the top options young readers will enjoy.

Options For Adolescents


Written by Craig Thompson and published in 2003, Blankets was created as an autobiography about his own life. Widely acclaimed as one of the top-notch comic books for teens, Thompson’s book was praised for its art, real-life story, and ability to blend both to create a captivating novel.

A man sitting in front many scattered papers.
Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Blankets explore the author’s relationship with his brother, Phil, his parents, and his first love, Raina. The novel looks into the adventures Thompson shares with his brother as they grow up. It likewise dwells on how a teen deals with religion, given that Thompson’s parents are devout Christians.

This book features a mature take on the reality of first love. Blankets is available in 16 languages and has won multiple awards, including the 2004 Eisner Award and the 2005 Prix de la Critique.


This book will be loved by classic literature readers who want a modern twist. Frankenstein is what you exactly need if you enjoy gothic horror. Gris Grimly masterfully combines his illustrations and stitches them with the words of the original author, Mary Shelley.

One of the top-notch books for adolescents
Source: flickr.com

Many critics and authors have praised this adaptation of a classic tale. Director Guillermo del Toro has deemed Grimly a “graveyard poet” because of this work. “She’s definitely an amazing author.”

American Born Chinese

This will give kids a good look into the importance of culture and help them understand the struggles that come with it. Gene Luen Yang wrote American Born Chinese as three different stories. The first is about the legendary Monkey King, Sun Wukong. The second story looks at the life of Jin Wang, a second-generation child of Chinese immigrants who struggles to fit in. The third is about Danny, a young American boy troubled by the visits of his Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee.

American Born Chinese received numerous awards, such as the 2007 Eisner Award, and was also a 2006 National Book Award finalist, the first book of its kind to achieve such a feat. It is also a useful resource for helping students with social-cognitive difficulties in school.


Cartoonist Nidhi Chanani released her debut Pashmina in 2007. Just like American-born Chinese, it explores themes of culture and tradition in today’s modern world.

The story is about Indian teenager Pri Das, who immigrated to Orange County, California with her mother. She discovers a shawl—the titular pashmina—that transports her to a version of India of her imagination. The novel is illustrated in black and white when Pri is in the US and shifts to vibrant colors when she is in India. Throughout the tale, she discovers the power of women, including her mother, making their own choices and her own identity.

Pashmina is lauded as the first book of its kind entirely created by an Indian American. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) rated it one of the top 10 books in the young adult category in 2018.

Source: pxhere.com

This One Summer

Targeted at older readers, This One Summer is about two summer friends, Rose and Windy. This particular year, the two start to pay more attention to the lives of the adults around them and their future and explore their interest in how to fall in love. The result of authors Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s hard work is a beautiful coming-of-age novel that deals with complex themes accompanied by beautiful artwork.

Despite being considered one of the top books in the YA genre, it has also gotten its fair share of critics. It was number one on the list of books that were most challenged in 2016 due to its inclusion of mature themes such as sexuality, LGBT, and profanity. The National Coalition Against Censorship has since defended this novel, saying that it still deserves the right to be in libraries.

I Am Alfonso Jones

Also intended to be read by older kids, I Am Alfonso Jones was written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings.

Critics name this the first YA book to explore police brutality and civil rights movements, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement.

The story follows Alfonso Jones, a young boy who is shot by a police officer after the latter mistakenly sees a clothes hanger as a gun. In the afterlife, Alfonso finds himself on a train along with other known victims of police brutality. The novel also looks at the lives of people who mourned the passing of their beloved Alfonso.

The book was one of YALSA’s top 10 books in 2018, and the New York Public Library named it one of the top titles for young adults.


Author and artist Noelle Stevenson initially created Nimona as a webcomic on Tumblr’s blogging site. This comic also served as Stevenson’s thesis, and she would later publish it in its current structure in 2015.

Source: flickr.com

The story follows the adventures of a shapeshifter named Nimona. She plays sidekick to a supervillain named Lord Ballister Blackheart. The novel examines Nimona’s powers, her relationship with her boss, and their quests against the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics.

Nimona is a fun novel that will be enjoyed by kids and local teenagers interested in fantasy and adventure. In 2015, it was nominated for an Eisner Award. In 2015, 20th Century Fox Animation announced that it would be creating a film adaptation to be released in 2020.

Equally brilliant titles should be noted, such as The Prince and the Dressmaker, which revolves around Prince Sebastian and Sebastian’s big secret weapon, his best friend. Pumpkin Patch is also a good read.


Some of these books explore mature themes. Parents are advised to guide their kids before getting these books.

Source: pexels.com

Similarly, this list is not exhaustive, and there are many other well-written and beautifully illustrated books out there for you to explore. Take the time to explore these books with your children so that they can find out what genres interest them the most. Give them a try for your kids to discover the beauty of merging words with art.


What Titles Should I Read First?

Though there is no confirmation if the following options are the greatest options for kids, here are some popular options for consideration:

  • The Invisibles
  • Black Hole
  • The Sandman
  • Box Office Poison
  • Watchmen
  • Maus
  • Sin City
  • Blankets
  • Anya’s Ghost
  • Paper Girls

Where Can I Find Cheap Books?

There are a lot of places to find and buy the best graphic novels for kids and even older people. You can go to a physical book store or book fair. However, if you prefer to enjoy the comfort of home shopping, here are the top 3 online shops where you can find great deals on these books:

  • Book Depository: Known for its vast selection of stories, Book Depository is a go-to online bookstore for readers seeking both contemporary and classic titles. What sets it apart is its promise of the lowest prices coupled with free worldwide shipping. This makes it an attractive option for those looking to expand their library without breaking the bank.
  • Amazon: The giant of online retail, Amazon, needs no introduction. It’s a versatile marketplace where you can find almost anything, including a broad assortment of illustrated books. While its prices for these books may not always match the unbeatable deals found at Book Depository, Amazon makes up for it with its fast shipping options, customer reviews, and the convenience of a one-stop shop for all your reading needs.
  • eBay: A treasure trove for collectors, eBay is the premier online destination for rare finds, including collector’s editions of comic novels, limited prints, and signed copies that are hard to find elsewhere. If you’re on the hunt for something unique or out of print, eBay’s vast network of sellers from around the globe might just have what you’re looking for.

Why Are These Kinds Of Books So Popular?

Children love them for this reading material is easy to read and understand. Its mixture of text and visual content makes it attractive to young and middle-aged readers.

Why Do Students Benefit From These Books?

It is beneficial for those who are struggling with reading. The excellent illustrations in these books help the students read and understand better. They are especially helpful for students with weak language skills, developmental delays, or disabilities.

How Are These Books Different From Comic Books?

A comic book has a story to tell over many issues. While illustrated books are longer than comics, storylines are usually wrapped in just one or two books.

Why Are They Better Than Regular Books?

There are cases wherein they tend to be more helpful to kids, but it does not mean that it is always better than regular books. Graphic novels are great for kids who love to read by illustrations. The images summarize a long book. They are most suitable for a person with dyslexia or those with difficulty reading.

What Types Of Illustrated Books Are There?

These books have steadily become more popular, especially for young boys and girls. You can now find different types of graphic novels in bookstores, libraries, and even online for kids. Check out these five types:

  • Manga
  • ​Superhero Stories
  • Non-superhero Stories
  • Personal Narratives
  • Non-fiction

What Are Some Of The Most Popular Titles In The Genre?

Many titles are considered by many to be their favorite graphic novels. But we gathered the top and most popular for them:

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  • Watchmen
  • Black Hole by Charles Burns
  • Daytripper by Fabio Moo
  • V for Vendetta

What Are The Top Comic Books That Suit Middle School Adolescents?

For middle school teenager, top graphic books often include adventure, friendship, and self-discovery themes, featuring engaging stories that resonate with their experiences and challenges.

Do Illustrated Books Count As Reading?

Absolutely, including comic novel adaptations, thought-provoking comic books, and manga classics. These formats provide diverse reading experiences, whether following A New Gotham City Hero, diving into a heart-warming story about reluctant readers finding their way, or exploring issues like residential school histories through A Girl Called Echo. Each book, with its unique blend of visuals and text, offers a rich narrative experience.

What Age Range Are These Books Suited?

Illustrated books cater to a broad age range. Young readers might enjoy The Okay Witch or learn about new school challenges, while older audiences can appreciate thought-provoking comic novel narratives on body image, or dive into nonfiction graphic works about real-world issues. Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, and stories about making new friends or confronting new enemies can appeal to teens and adults alike.

Are These Books Beneficial To Your Brain?

Engaging with illustrated books such as thought-provoking illustrated novels or nonfiction illustrated works stimulates cognitive functions. Whether unraveling a true story through comics or connecting with two classmates navigating messy roots in Incredible Doom, these books challenge the brain to process information visually and textually, enhancing comprehension and empathy.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Reading Illustrated Books?

The primary challenge might be the perception that they’re less serious or educational than traditional text-only books. However, titles like Ashley Robin Franklin’s Exploration of New Friends or Nathan Page’s Depiction of Best Friends in a beloved series demonstrate these formats’ depth and learning potential. While they might offer a long line of visually engaging content, balancing them with text-rich books can ensure a well-rounded reading experience.

Is It Acceptable To Exclusively Read Books That Are Illustrated?

While focusing on illustrated books, from graphic novel adaptations to manga classics, can be incredibly fulfilling and educational, diversifying reading materials can enhance literacy skills and world knowledge. Illustrated books, with their heart-warming stories about new school life or the great escape of A New Gotham City Hero, play a crucial role in fostering a love for reading, especially among reluctant readers.

What Genre Of Books Boosts Your Brain The Most?

The genre that boosts the brain the most can vary based on personal interests and cognitive goals. However, nonfiction graphic novels that provide important information in an accessible format, thought-provoking graphic works that delve into complex themes like body image, or even graphic novel adaptations of beloved series can offer substantial cognitive benefits. Engaging with various genres, from the adventures of A New Gotham City Hero to the introspective journey of new friends in Ashley Robin Franklin’s work, ensures a rich and stimulating reading experience.

Can You Provide Details On A Comic Book Adaptation?

The graphic novel adaptation transforms a beloved story or real-life events into a visually engaging comic book format. Through detailed illustrations and creative storytelling, it offers readers a new way to experience familiar narratives, characters, and themes. This format can cover various genres, including fantasy, history, biography, and more, making it an appealing option for diverse audiences seeking a different reading experience.

Can You Tell Me More About The New Friend Character In The Alicia Keys Story?

In the narrative featuring Alicia Keys, the new friend plays a crucial role in showcasing themes of friendship, support, and the power of music. This character is introduced as someone who forms a significant bond with Alicia, offering readers insights into the importance of connections and their impact on personal growth and success. The story highlights how friendships can inspire and drive individuals to achieve their dreams, echoing Alicia Keys’ real-life experiences and values.

Last Updated on April 11, 2023 by Rejie Salazar

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